100 episodes

Randy Cantrell, founder of Bula Network, LLC serves entrepreneurs, executives, and leaders. He serves owners and founders through peer advantage, leveraging connection & collaboration for improved performance. The work focuses on hitting the trifecta of successful business building (the three activities of successful business building): 1) getting new customers, 2) serving existing customers better and 3) not going crazy in the process. He also serves local city governments.

The Power Of Others Randy Cantrell

    • Entrepreneurship
    • 4.8, 11 Ratings

Randy Cantrell, founder of Bula Network, LLC serves entrepreneurs, executives, and leaders. He serves owners and founders through peer advantage, leveraging connection & collaboration for improved performance. The work focuses on hitting the trifecta of successful business building (the three activities of successful business building): 1) getting new customers, 2) serving existing customers better and 3) not going crazy in the process. He also serves local city governments.

    The Questions That Make All The Difference In Your Leadership (and your life) – Season 2020, Episode 26

    The Questions That Make All The Difference In Your Leadership (and your life) – Season 2020, Episode 26

    Today’s show is about two areas where we exercise our point of view and four questions that can make all the difference in our lives and our leadership.

    First off, you should know I don’t fancy myself as a thought leader. I abhor that title, especially when people ascribe it to themselves. Even on my About page I say I often struggle to lead my own thoughts so I don’t really want the burden of trying to lead yours. However, I do very much want to help you figure out how you can learn, grow and improve your life and leadership. That’s always the objective. So let’s see if we can accomplish that today. Let’s see if we can do that every day!

    How we see the world and our place in it – these are important for every person because they determine our choices and actions. Convictions. Character. Beliefs. Thoughts. Feelings. Those are all wrapped up in how we see the world and our place in it. But those don’t specifically speak to the two areas where we exercise our point of view.

    The main ingredient for today’s podcast is our self-awareness. All of us prefer to think our self-awareness is spot on. We may tend to overestimate how accurately we see ourselves. We think we’re always right, even though we may be wrong. Why would any of us intentionally hold a wrong thought or belief or feeling? Well, it’s not because we know it’s wrong. It’s because we incorrectly believe we’re correct.

    Self-awareness can also influence how we see others. We don’t often view others without thinking about how we’re impacted by our feelings or thoughts about them. That’s why all those gaps in our knowledge about others get filled in with assumptions. Our assumptions likely have more to do with us than we’d like to admit. Our assumptions can lean toward being more wrong than right as we craft stories that fit with what we most want to think is true.

    The first viewpoint isn’t measured in rightness or wrongness. It’s like somebody asking you, “What’s your favorite flavor of milkshake?” You say, “Chocolate.” They say, “Well, that’s not right!” You like what you like. We prefer what we prefer. It’s our viewpoint and it has no accuracy component. It only hinges on whether or not we’re telling the truth. I suppose somebody could gift you a vanilla shake and ask, “Is vanilla your favorite?” – to which you might politely answer, “Yes. Thank you.” But really, chocolate is your favorite.

    We like what we like. We prefer what we prefer. It’s neither right nor wrong. It’s our view of the world. It’s our view of ourselves.

    There is at least one area where this can be problematic. In my coaching sessions, it’s common for people to have self-limiting beliefs or viewpoints. A person may aspire to a higher position of leadership in an organization, but they struggle to see themselves as worthy of such an opportunity. Having never been in such a spot they wrongly think their inexperience at having held such a position before disqualifies them, never stopping to realize that everybody in that top spot had a first! These viewpoints aren’t preferences though. And rather than judging it as right or wrong, I prefer to judge it differently.

    I’m fond of questions to help us gain clarity. Experience has taught me there’s a big challenge to questions though. That is, taking the time and effort to answer them. It’s particularly noticeable whenever we’re considering worst-case-scenarios. “What’s the worst thing that can happen?” We all ask it. Fewer take the time to answer it truthfully.

    But today I’ve got four questions which are really just different aspects of the same question.

    Is it constructive?

    Is it destructive?

    • 31 min
    Triage & Post-Mortem Your Actions – Season 2020, Episode 25

    Triage & Post-Mortem Your Actions – Season 2020, Episode 25

    Robert woke up around 5:30 in the morning, more tired than when he went to bed. Back in mid-March, his company was outpacing their projections so significantly his team was wondering how they had failed to more accurately project revenues and profits. At the time, back in the fall of 2019, Robert’s team was skittish about being too aggressive with their 12% revenue increase projections. As the end of Q1 approached – along with the pandemic – sales were almost 20% higher. Like most teams experiencing grand success, they just accepted it and were thankful.

    By March 18, 2020 life began to change. Dramatically.

    Robert’s banker made sure the company got all the federal funds possible. Thankfully, they qualified for a significant loan, which was easily converted to a forgivable “grant” as Robert used almost all the money to keep staff on the payroll. At the time, Robert was hopeful the money would be enough to help him ride out the pandemic storm. But it wasn’t.

    During those days he assembled his leadership team on Zoom calls trying to wrestle to the ground strategies that would help them hang on. In the span of about 90 days they went from feeling stupid because they had so grossly under-estimated sales projections…now, here they were talking about how to manage cash flow so they could just survive. Robert admitted, “Somedays, it was just too much of a swing. My mind couldn’t seem to handle it.”

    The employees have been prominent in Robert’s mind. He’s got talent that has been with him for years. Some that’s quite specialized. All of it, to hear him, are loyal. It was crushing for Robert to even entertain conversations about how impossible it was going to be to keep the payroll fully intact. Harder still when he had to personally inform people that the company could no longer retain them. For Robert, it was especially painful to do such a thing by way of a video call rather than in person. “That’s as bad it gets,” said Robert. “You lose people who have done great work for a long time and you can’t even show them the respect to do it in person.”

    Like many, Robert experienced death by a thousand cuts as he tried every day to figure out ways to avoid the inevitable. At every step he and his leadership team – who were all the first to forego pay so they could try to hang onto as many employees as possible – were pre-thinking every possible scenario and he’ll tell how they were “second-guessing every single thing we do.”

    Triage is mostly a medical term. It refers to the assignment of degrees of urgency to wounds or illnesses to decide the order of treatment of a large number of patients or casualties. I’ve used it for years to refer to a management team’s assessment of the present circumstances in order to decide the priorities. It’s the ability of leadership to accurately figure out what course of action should happen next!

    Robert and his team were putting in the hard work to triage their situation. But this was and is an unparalleled time. There’s no precedent upon which to draw. Robert’s vast experience seemed inadequate.

    Like most business owners Robert made some personal decisions early on. Each based on how he personally felt he had to react. He remained true to himself by erring on the side of gratitude toward his staff. That’s why he decided to stave off parting ways with people as long as possible. Meanwhile, I know other owners who operated quite differently. Being true to themselves, some had little to no compunction about parting ways with anybody. I’m not judging it. Some owners view their staff as invaluable to the success of the enterprise. Others view them as more disposable. Robert held the former viewpoint.

    This is important because we love to think that every decision is pur...

    • 20 min
    Humility Is The Path Forward – Season 2020, Episode 24

    Humility Is The Path Forward – Season 2020, Episode 24

    Admittedly, humility is a trite topic when we’re talking about leadership. It gets lots of lip service, but less practice. Humility sounds wonderful as a characteristic, but many people disbelieve it has real power. And real power is largely what folks clamor to obtain. Those who have it can be desperate to hang onto it.

    Making decisions. That’s the name of the game. We want power, control, and authority. We want to make the decision and issue orders. There’s no place for humility when that’s the objective. So we may think.

    Let me tell you what prompted today’s show.

    Before the pandemic shut us all down I was engaged with a number of groups about making a leadership presentation. They had similar desires – growing and developing leadership that could propel them forward. Each group had so-called leaders, but each group felt leadership was largely ineffective.

    At the heart of the conversations about how I might be able to help them was culture, a term I insisted we talk about it. Specifically, I wanted to hear their own description of the culture – the environment, the feelings, the opinions of the group members.

    Here are some of the words and phrases used to describe the cultures. Keep in mind, this is how THEY described themselves – their own culture.

    “Participation is sparse.”

    “Some are always chasing the spotlight for attention and power.”

    “Most of us don’t speak up. Ever.”

    “We’re told our opinions matters, but nobody listens so most of the time we just keep quiet.”

    “We’re told what to do. Nobody ever asks us anything.”

    “Decisions come down without any discussion.”

    “You can’t have a conversation because it feels like people have their mind made up.”

    Sound’s inviting, huh?

    Sadly, it describes too many groups and teams. Long ago I figured out that leadership challenges largely stem from how people view authority. And how badly some seek authority.

    In my coaching practice, I’m blessed because I always – 100% of the time – am commissioned to work with high achievers and performers. I don’t do remedial work. Nothing wrong with it, it’s just not my calling. By the time I was 25 I learned I wasn’t a zero to 60 guy, but instead was a 60 to 240 guy. That is, I’m innately focused on taking an existing performance and finding paths forward to even higher performance. It was true in the businesses I operated and it’s been true in the teams I’ve assembled, and now in the people I coach. For me, the biggest question is, “How much better can it be?”

    I say that because it’s rare for me to encounter a client with a poor view of authority. My clients all lean very heavily into recognizing their responsibility and are very intent on upping their game. Along the way, we almost always engage in conversations about lessons learned from the bad bosses they had along the way. Invariably we have a discussion about authority and why some people see it as decision-making rather than service. It’s at the heart of many leadership challenges because too many bosses lack the humility to lead.

    My focus on leadership humility centers on curiosity, compassion, and understanding. These are the path forward for all leaders, even those who are already high achievers and high performers. We can all improve our abilities in these 3 areas.

    The reason I focus on this triad of traits is because humility fosters these and lack of humility erodes them. The real focal point of humility? Others. When it’s not about others it’s about us, but not in a selfish way. It’s about our willingness to question ourselves. It’s about our commitment to our own learning,

    • 18 min
    The Destructive Power Of Restlessness – Season 2020, Episode 23

    The Destructive Power Of Restlessness – Season 2020, Episode 23

    Since I wasn’t alive during the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918, this is my first pandemic experience. But I have experienced disruption. My working life really began during major disruption in the 1970s because of the oil crisis. Thankfully, I was a teen and didn’t know any better (or different). From then until now I’ve encountered numerous downturns that weren’t gentle slopes, but more like rock slides. Maybe that has something to do with how I approach market disruptions. Mostly, I don’t get too preoccupied with them because they’re so much bigger than me.

    I don’t remember ever feeling dispair. Uncertainty? Of course, but maybe because I started out as a high-schooler when the economy was awful…I just don’t pay much attention to it. I certainly don’t claim to have some special mental toughness or special gift. Experience and perspective must be the reason.

    There is a game that is played far above my level. Sports stopped during the pandemic, but the game of business ramped up to super-major-league levels. Unfortunately, the play happens out of sight of the public. We’re only able to see the score when the game is finished. The winners are business people able to leverage the restlessness of others to their advantage. It’s among the reasons why some companies experience exponential growth during tough times. It’s why others are able to acquire valuable assets at greatly reduced investments. And it’s why others fail and fall off the game board giving increased opportunities to the competition.

    Restlessness in markets has an upside if you’re able to take advantage.

    Restlessness also has a powerful destructive force in our professional and personal lives. And in our organizations. This is why we have to be more keenly aware of it and work to manage it in our lives and in the lives of the people we serve.

    Today I just want to focus on one big element that makes restlessness destructive and see if we can help leverage it, instead, to serve us positively.

    Restlessness kills curiosity because we grow increasingly impatient. 

    This pandemic is an ideal manifestation of it. People are anxious and exhausted. The polarization of opinions is growing. All because we’re restless with the situation. We just want to get past it. Never mind a deeper understanding. Out goes whatever curiosity we may naturally have. And if we lacked curiosity before the restlessness set in, then we’ve ditched it all together now.

    The formula is ridiculously simple: curiosity prompts the quest to truly understand, which in turn drives our understanding. Greater understanding arms us with better data from which to make a decision resulting in improved actions, assuming we can execute as we want.

    It starts with curiosity, which requires patience. Insert the pressure of “no time” or the perception that we have no time and patience goes down (or away). There goes curiosity.

    During this pandemic, I’ve actually heard a phrase uttered by folks who ought to know better. “My mind’s made up.” Translation: I don’t care what you or anybody else says. I already know what I want to do. I don’t have time for any input or insights.

    It’s a recipe for a fatal decision. I’m not saying that’s guaranteed, but we dramatically improve our odds of making a very poor and costly decision.

    The destruction caused by our unmanaged restlessness goes deeper though. It erodes our relationships. When we lose our curiosity we lose interest in others. We stop caring what they think or how they feel. Selfishness grows. We know what we know and we arrogantly think we know best. Maybe we do. Maybe we don’t. But our restlessness propels our ego forward while shoving other people aside.

    How many “smartest guy in the room” people do you know...

    • 15 min
    What Do We Have In Common? – Season 2020, Episode 22

    What Do We Have In Common? – Season 2020, Episode 22

    Two extremes. One is our tendency to notice things just like the things we own. If you drive Limerock Edition of a BMW M3 you’ll quickly notice anybody else driving the same car. That flashy orange is easy to spot. But you don’t have to drive something quite so exotic. You’ll notice every car on the road that is identical to your.

    Another extreme is our tendency to notice things out of the ordinary. They stick out. Okay, to be fair, the Limerock Edition of the M3 will stand out as extraordinary…so if you own one it fits both of these extremes. One is sameness. The other is differentness.

    We’re all unique and as Angela Maiers is so fond of saying, “You matter!”

    Yet we all feel we’re so different. Sometimes we even feel like nobody knows or understands what we’re going through. Intellectually we know that’s not true, but our feels are quite real all the same.

    You could certainly make an application to these extremes in this current social unrest brought about by racism. Nothing new about racism. I’m in line at the bank drive-through and notice a bunch of pigeons. They all look the same. There’s about 6 of them. In flies one that is a very light tan color. The rest of them were dark grey. He or she (I can’t tell if a pigeon is male or female) was different. They clearly noticed. They didn’t misbehave, but you could tell the grey ones stuck closer together. I’ve seen such things before though even though I’m not an anthropologist. 😉

    Creatures, including humans, notice differences. Sadly, as people, we have the capacity to more fully understand the differences…than say, a pigeon. I could be wrong about that, but I don’t think so. I’m basing that on my assumption that humans have higher intellectual and communication abilities than pigeons. 😀

    All it requires of us is curiosity and communication. Well, to be perfectly clear – non-judgmental curiosity and communication. There is a difference.

    Asking questions in hopes that we might better understand is key.

    Here’s the fascinating thing about the quest to understand differences — we tend to understand that we’re not so different after all. We have quite a lot in common. As for the differences, they can expand our ability to think, understand, and have compassion.

    I’ve seen a number of stories written chronicling people of different races who have, for the first time, engaged in sober conversation with somebody of another race. The conversation topic? The current focus on racial inequality. Many of these stories end with both people admitting they had never had such a conversation and never had an understanding of how the other person felt. Or known what that might be like, to be the other person. And in every story I’ve read both parties concluded they had quite a lot in common in spite of the vast differences of their life experiences. Both are still human and experience all the same human emotions common to us all.

    “Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen,” is the refrain of that famous song by Mahalia Jackson. It’s a hymn that mostly speaks to the truth that Jesus knows. But the other truth is, many other people do know – and do understand. We just don’t often enough talk with each other with the aim of truly understanding each other so we can learn to be more kind toward one another.

    Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen

    Nobody knows but He knows my sorrow

    Yes, nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen

    But glory, Hallelujah

    Sometimes I’m standing crying

    Tears running down my face

    I cry to the Lord, have mercy

    Help me run this all race

    Oh Lord, I have so many trials

    • 19 min
    Profitable Disagreement – Season 2020, Episode 21

    Profitable Disagreement – Season 2020, Episode 21

    Is the ideal really full compliance and cooperation?

    I suppose it depends on the situation. What’s the context of the group or team? What’s the purpose of their coming together? Lots of factors might influence how we approach things…and will influence our expectations, too.

    First, we ought to define what we mean by compliance and cooperation. I can make the argument that full compliance and cooperation may not mean I agree with everything said. Or done. It may mean that I’m in such a safe space that I feel free to openly share my insights, concerns, and thoughts. I know many people might view it differently, thinking it means you just go along and don’t make waves. Without waves though, there’s no momentum. We have to work much harder to go anywhere until there are waves for us to surf.

    Is the ideal being productive, effective, and efficient?

    Could be. Likely true.

    But full compliance and cooperation may not resemble being productive, effective, and efficient.

    Some groups and teams put a premium on avoiding debate or tension of any kind. They see disagreement as destructive so their culture has little tolerance for it.

    Those in charge – bosses – can easily fall into that trap, too. Fixating on what they feel is best and what they think needs to be done, the boss may be intolerant of opposing viewpoints. Many a boss has been frustrated by what they see as a lack of cooperation. It can even result in the loss of a well-intended productive employee if the boss grows too disgruntled.

    The viewpoint is understandable. Most of us don’t have much fondness for disagreement because of our life experiences. We’ve seen people behave poorly. Maybe we’ve even behaved poorly ourselves. Many of us associate anger with disagreement, but that’s a very narrow view. Disagreement doesn’t have to include anger or any of the negative emotions we often associate with disagreement.

    Let’s talk about what we lose when we can’t – or we refuse – to understand how disagreement can be profitable.


    This presupposes that you value truth. We all claim we do, but sometimes we deceive ourselves preferring to avoid having our assumptions, beliefs or thoughts challenged. We know what we know. Or we think we do.

    Fixating on tactics and strategies may help us execute more effectively, but nothing beats genuine kindness and curiosity.

    We could find plenty of books and other training materials that would give us frameworks, templates and tactics. Lots of experts are willing to tell us how to go about conducting a meeting. Or having a conversation. But the net bottom line, it seems to me, is if some people in the group or team are jerks, then we have to deploy tactics to help mitigate their destructive power. What a waste of effort in the long haul?

    Organizational behavior experts talk about gratitude and lower ego, but what if a person isn’t grateful? What if they truly do believe they’re the smartest person in the room? What if they don’t want to listen, much less, understand a point of view that is different from their own? What do you do then?

    Craig Weber, the author of Conversational Capacity, appropriately points out we’ve got 3 choices when such a person is in charge. One, we can ignore them. Two, we can deploy strategies and tactics that may (heavy emphasis) help minimize their negative behavior. Three, we can hit the eject button and leave. Craig argues, if you’re going to leave, then you may as well use strategy number 2. What have you got to lose?

    Sometimes it may be others besides the boss though. People who just don’t understand how disagreements can be valuable. Then what?

    Such questions are impossible to distill into some neat tidy...

    • 22 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
11 Ratings

11 Ratings

Mr. Anthony Tran ,

Bula Network helps me not go crazy

Don't go crazy! Bula Network provides me the info I need to help get more customers

Andy Gray (A Congruent Life) ,

Great business wisdom!

Randy has a lot of business experience, and shares his wisdom effectively through this podcast. There is a _ton_ of content here; looking forward to working my way through these episodes.

Tucsonveggie ,

Great podcast

Just starting listening only had 2 episodes but seems to be good information in a pleasant format.

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